DESK:It's all about the Blue Cheese


December 19, 2006|By Steve Virgen

The stench that comes from this corroded slab of cheese is something like the waste at a city dump. The aroma would make anyone cringe.

The cheese's texture has decayed well beyond the suggested date to eat, spoiling in a plastic container for the past four months.

Oh to eat it, that would be a form of torture. Most would fear even touching it. But for a Newport Beach boys' soccer team, it's something meaningful. It's special.


That cheese is the boys' mascot.

The Newport Beach team of 10-and-under boys gave themselves the nickname the Blue Cheese four months ago and away they went.

They lost their first game, but would not lose again until their season ended on Sunday.

Yes, in addition to that awful cheese, the Blue Cheese had a memorable season. They went 12-2-2, became crowned as the Region 57 champion and reached the Area Q title game.

Along the way, they shared laughs about that cheese.

"The cheese is a motivational factor," Blue Cheese Coach George Logan said before the championship game on Sunday. "If the kids are ever really tired or sad, we bring out the cheese and one whiff gets them going."

Logan used the spoiled cheese to inspire his players throughout the season. Each week, he gave out what he called the "Cheese Whiz Award," to the best player of the game.

"It's been refrigerated at times and non-refrigerated," Logan said. "It's been brought to schools for show and tell, but it's always with us."

It was with them Sunday afternoon, when the Newport Beach boys defeated the South Irvine B team, 3-0 in the semifinals. Nick Hanna scored in the first half. Anthony Cecere and Tommy Casey each found the back of the net in the second half.

But after the championship game, the players said good-bye to their blue cheese. They lost, 2-0, to South Irvine's A team and afterward held a burial ceremony for the cheese. Logan said they buried it at an undisclosed site.

Only the players know, the same players who, one by one, scooped a shovel of dirt on top of the hole.

Robbie Farber said he was sad.

"I got flashbacks of how great the season was," said Farber, who turned 11 on Monday. "It was fun. I have never been that far in any other season. I've been playing soccer for six years and we always made it to the [area] semifinals. I think everyone played hard. Our coach was great and enthusiastic. He always had a positive attitude."

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